Who hasn’t imagined waking up one morning (or afternoon) and walking out the front door only to be greeted by the sun, sand, and surf of Ipanema Beach? With all the available apartments for rent in the oceanfront districts of Rio de Janeiro—Ipanema, Copacabana, Leblon, Leme, Arpoador, and Barra da Tijuca—snagging your own space and becoming a denizen of the Marvelous City for a few days, weeks, or even months has never been easier.
The easiest way to book an apartment in Rio is to locate an online rental agency and secure a short-term vacation rental. These agencies can be found through any internet search and offer detailed instructions on how to procure an apartment or “flat” through their particular agency. Vacation rentals usually include all furniture and appliances, some with pools and other perks, and can be found all over town, including less-expensive non-beach areas such as Urca, Botafogo, Santa Teresa, and Jardim Botânico. Per-night rates can range anywhere from $50 to $1000, depending on whether you’re looking for a small efficiency or a multi-bedroom luxury penthouse. The attractive thing about how to rent an apartment in Rio de Janeiro is the fact that several people can contribute to the rent, lowering costs for each individual and allowing the group to stay in an area in which hotels are prohibitively expensive.
Most properties have a minimum rental period of 3 days to one week, and 30%-50% of the total price must be paid upon reserving the apartment with the remainder paid upon arrival. Agencies usually require information regarding the number of men, women, and children planning to stay in the apartment, as landlords often don’t like renting to groups of single men (sorry, guys). Bear in mind that rents in Ipanema and Leblon are some of the highest in the world. Prices drop sharply for properties in nearby Arpoador and Copacabana—both bordering Ipanema—and even more so for Barra da Tijuca and areas away from the beaches.
Renting an apartment the traditional way (i.e. obtaining a lease and paying rent on a monthly basis) is undoubtedly much more difficult than obtaining a vacation rental. The process usually involves finding a property via a rental agency, classified ads, or word of mouth, and often involving negotiations in Portuguese. A Brazilian tax identification number called a CPF is required, and most rental agencies require either a cosigner that owns property in the city (called a fiador), or a form of rental insurance that requires a Brazilian credit check and local bank statements. Landlords who handle the leasing process themselves often accept large deposits—usually the equivalent of three month’s rent—in lieu of bank records or a cosigner. Lastly, most apartments on the traditional rental market come unfurnished, without appliances and even kitchen and bathroom fixtures in some instances. That said, the monthly rent of traditional apartments is often less than what you would pay for even a week in a vacation rental.